What is Spam in Gmail and How Can You Prevent It?
What is spam in Gmail?
Spam takes many forms. From unwanted newsletters, chain letters, questionable pharmaceutical offers, fake emails from parties pretending to be legitimate entities, to suspicious-looking information offers.
Spam is more common today than ever before. And if you're like most people, these and a host of other unwanted emails are bothersome.
Typically, as a Gmail user, your spam filter should be able to catch these kinds of emails. You also should have the option the block any similar emails that try to infiltrate your inbox.
At least that's what most people think.
The challenge with spam is that spammers are getting really smart.
Block one email address and they send an email from another.
Block a domain and they'll send yet another email from a different domain.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from spam?
You need stronger measures. You need to be able to not only block spammers but make them believe that your email address isn't worth the hassle of spamming.
Gmail provides its users with a set of options to combat unwanted emails. Here's a list of some of the built-in tools or other solutions available to you:
Filters are unique rules you can set according to certain email criteria. They tell Gmail what to do when you receive emails. Filters work well for legitimate email but can become hard to manage with spam. As spammers change email addresses, you'll need to create more filters to keep up.
Filters and Labels
Labels use filters to organize emails by priority. While prioritizing your inbox cleans it, it doesn't prevent spam, it simply places it under a label in your Gmail account.
Archiving moves all emails you no longer want in your priority, promotion, social or updates views to your archive folder. While you can archive any kind of email, this doesn't actually prevent spam from entering your inbox if it gets past Gmail's spam filter. This is just like hiding an email, but it'll still show up if you search your inbox or view the "All Mail" folder.
Deleting is another way to get rid of email, but it's not always a good long-term solution. Spam emails that slip past Gmail's filter will still make it into your inbox.
While this option should work every time, spammers typically aren't the kind of people to pay attention to unsubscribe lists.
A Smarter Solution
Once installed, Block Sender automatically appears in your Gmail inbox. From within your Gmail account, you'll see the Block button directly below the Gmail search bar, next to your filter checkbox.
Block Sender comes with 8 ways to prevent spam, and we're working on even more!
As a user, you'll be able to block spam emails using the following criteria:
- Email addresses
- Websites and domains
- Domain extensions
- IP address
Blocking spammers is easy. Start by selecting how you'd like to block spam. Next, enter the identifier for the spam you want to block. This identifier depends on how you are blocking the spam. So it could be the email address, domain name, subject, etc.
Pick where your spam should go when blocked. You can send spam emails to Trash, Archive, or you can have it deleted permanently and skip the trash.
Using Fake Bounce-Back Emails
Fake bounce-back emails are a smart way to prevent future spam. Often, spammers use the same email lists and send spam from different email addresses. Bounce-back emails, however, get sent to spammers and harassers to make them believe that your email address "doesn't exist" or the email has been blocked.
Block Sender users have a choice of two template reply emails:
- Fake Bounce Back: Bounces back spam messages with our authentic-looking error messages
- Blocked by Block Sender: Let the spammer know that they've been blocked and that they can't get through to you
A Custom Canned Reply option is in development. It will allow you to create your own canned replies to be sent to blocked addresses.
Manage your Blocks in Gmail
It's not uncommon to mistakenly block an email account or decide that you'd like to change the action Block Sender should take when spam arrives. To help users easily control spam, we've made it possible to update your blocks directly within Gmail.
Using the "Manage Your Blocks" feature, you can:
- Search for blocks: Easily search for and view your existing blocks
- Create new blocks: Assign criteria and set up a new block
- Edit blocks: Change the block criteria
- Pause blocking: Halt blocking for a specific block
- Delete: Remove a block permanently
Block Sender's "Manage Your Blocks" feature is easier to use than Gmail's filters. You can easily search through your blocks with the browser extension, allowing you to properly manage them when needed. This is in contrast to Gmail's filters, which you must manually page through to view them all or find the one you're looking for.
Trying to determine what is spam in Gmail and what isn't, and how to manage it all can be a challenge. Gmail's standard spam and filter options work well in many cases, but they often don't protect users from smart spammers or harassers who know how to circumvent Gmail's spam prevention measures.